Ms. Marvel season 1 episode 5, ‘Time and Again’, was highly anticipated by fans. While I appreciated some of the emotional beats, the bigger issues surrounding Ms. Marvel still remain.
With Kamala and her mother arriving in Karachi in the previous episode, we saw Kamala getting to learn about the Red Dagger organization and their responsibility to fight the Djinn. We got some more information about the Noor dimension and how tearing the veil would destroy Earth. Waleed even mentioned how Thor would have been considered a Djinn if he landed in the Himalayas.
While such moments were interesting, a major problem impacting Ms. Marvel, in my opinion, is how rushed everything feels. I don’t know about you, but I think that this was a show that could have benefited from an eight-episode run. This story requires proper world-building but doesn’t have the time. The writers seem to be throwing words like ‘Djinn’ and the ‘Noor dimension’ without addressing how it all fits with the concept of Islam and Kamala’s identity as a desi Muslim superhero.
The fact that Kamala’s heritage has already been retconned in the live-action adaptation to link with Djinn isn’t sitting well with a bunch of Muslim viewers. And the writing team not being provided enough time to explore such a change isn’t helping matters. As of right now, Kamala is getting the unfortunate “Mystical Asian” treatment. And frankly, that’s disappointing.
That’s why I continue to hope that the finale reveals that Kamala actually has some kind of alien heritage and that her powers aren’t magical in nature at all. Let Asian characters become superpowered beings without adding some kind of “mystical” element to their backstory, Western media!
Coming to what I liked about ‘Time and Again’, we got to see Kamala experience how her great-grandparents fell in love and gave birth to Sana. I think that the latest episode kind of addressed some of the complaints certain fans had about how the show was “whitewashing” the Partition by making it seem it was solely because of the British.
Yes, the territory was divided into Pakistan and India by the British. (There was also East Pakistan. But that’s a whole other topic.) However, there was a lot of religious tension going on between Hindus and Muslims in such a massive area. Issues that, some would argue, made partition inevitable due to the political powers in play during that era. ‘Time and Again’ showed a glimpse of that through Kamala’s great-grandfather Hasan.
Another thing I liked, because it was so unexpected, was Kamala’s role during the flashback. I thought she was only going to be a passive spectator. But no. Turns out, Kamala went through some Harry Potter-esque Time-Turner shenanigans and was actually present in the past to not only meet a dying Aisha (we’ll get to that in a bit) but to also guide Sana back to Hasan. All of that actually happened because Kamala was able to give an old photograph from Aisha to an aged Sana in the present.
Similar to the Ms. Marvel comics, the show excels when focusing on the relationships between the characters. There were numerous moments in the latest episode that pulled at my heartstrings. Not only did we get to see Kamala secure her family’s lineage by going back in the past, but she also strengthened her bond with Muneeba. I’m looking forward to seeing how their dynamic will change when they go back to the US and Muneeba now knows that Kamala will likely be superheroing in the city whenever she’s not at home.
Another mother/child relationship was showcased through Najma and Kamran. I have to say, it was quite boring. Seeing Najma sacrifice herself to stop the veil because Kamala used Talk-No Jutsu to remind her of Kamran made me groan. Najma and her (incredibly incompetent) group of Djinns went through a whole lot of trouble to open the veil only for Najma to turn “good” at the end? Oh, come on! The entire thing was very anti-climatic. At least Kamran got a power boost out of it. So, there’s that.
Talking about Kamran, being abandoned by his mother led him to seek Bruno. I’m already seeing certain fans beginning to ship Kamran and Bruno. And you know what? I’m kind of here for it. I mean, anything to keep Bruno away from Kamala. For some reason, there seems to be no romantic chemistry between those two. Which is saying something because Kamala has very obvious romantic chemistry with Kamran and Kareem.
With Kamran and Bruno being attacked, I guess Kamala will need to find a way to rescue them. Here’s hoping she’s able to mend her relationship with Nakia along the way. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Zoe joins the group in the finale. I’m still waiting for Zoe to be revealed as a queer character.
As for Aisha’s death, that was anticlimatic, too. Najma simply killed her with a dagger. There was no epic Aisha vs Clandestines battle to save her family. Again, I feel an expanded number of episodes would have allowed the writers to give us something more. Something better.
Anyway, what did you think of ‘Time and Again’?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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